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Taekwondo qualifier win earns Melissa Pagnotta spot in Rio Olympics

Canadian Melissa Pagnotta punched her ticket to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio this summer with her win in the semifinals at the Pan Am qualifying tournament in Mexico on Friday.

3 other Canadians miss out after qualifying tournament in Mexico

Melissa Pagnotta, right, seen above at a previous event, earned a spot in the 2016 Olympics with her win in the semifinals at the Pan Am qualifying tournament in Mexico on Friday. (Martin Mejia/The Associated Press)

Canadian Melissa Pagnotta has punched her ticket to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio after winning her semifinal bout at the Pan Am qualifying tournament in Mexico on Friday. 

The 27-year-old Torontonian ultimately finished second at the tournament, in Aguascalientes, Mexico, behind Paige McPherson of the United States. But the top-2 spot gave her an Olympic berth in the under-67 kilogram category at the last chance to qualify for the Games.

Pagnotta, who was ranked in the top-three for her weight class heading into the event, will be competing at her first Olympics.

Pagnotta won gold at the Pan Am Games in 2011.  

Three other Canadians competing at the qualification event — Yvette Yong, Maxime Potvin and Marc-André Bergeron — did not earn berths. Potvin came close, finishing third in the men's under-68 category. Bergeron finished fourth in the men's under-80kg category, while Yong lost her quarterfinal bout.

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